Japan is attempting to improve its prospects in pairs skating with the new team of Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran. The couple finished 15th at their first ISU championship, the 2008 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Earlier in the season, they placed 12th at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Tallinn, Estonia and sixth at the JGP in Chemnitz, Germany.
Tran, who was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, started skating when he was four. "My parents came to Canada from Vietnam and Cambodia as refugees," he explained. "They wanted us to have something to do in Canada so they threw me into hockey camp. I had all my equipment and would skate around dragging my stick behind me. When I took CanSkate, the class was taught by figure skaters so instead of hockey I got into figure skating instead."